Tag Archives: The Wizard Of Oz

Of Death, Tin, Trees & Moles

2 Mar

 Photo courtesy of Spud’s friend on Facebook

Tinman TWoOz 24hr Musical 1

Tinman regretted the tiny costume budget…

Spud is rather busy at the moment.  We missed him as Tinman in The Wizard of Oz.  The students do what’s called a 24-hour musical: they turn up one night, are told what the musical is and what part they’ve been cast in; rehearse through the night and next day; and go on that evening.  It’s a lot of fun and raises money for charity.

We did see him as Happy in Death of a Salesman last week.  The whole production was excellent and the young cast brought real maturity to the performance.  Flora Turnbull as Linda Loman was particularly good.  She’s one to watch.

 Photo courtesy of Spud’s friend on Facebook


Happy spots his next victim

The play and Spud got two great reviews.  If you’re interested, you can read them here and here; but I’ll give you the edited highlights:

Tom Williams as the conflicted Biff, and Alex Cosgriff as the overlooked Happy, also deliver outstanding performances as Loman’s two wayward sons. Alex’s comedic timing is exceptional

Laura Elliott, Kettlemag.co.uk

[Happy], the excellent Alex Cosgriff

Matthew Drew, ForgetToday.com


Click on the image to find out more 

You may remember how I raved about The Tree of War last September; well, this just in: it has been extended, extra songs added, and is to be staged for a week in September in a bigger venue.  Spud has been asked to reprise his role as Bert; as has Sam Gilliatt as Grev.  You can hear their duet on Soundcloud; as well as an ensemble piece.  Spud is the second voice on the first song and first voice on the second song.*

Spud has had three scripts in his head for the past few weeks – there’s no danger of Alzheimer’s in his old age but his head might explode at some point.    Death of a Salesman finished its run on Saturday night. He got to bed at eight a.m. Sunday and then was up for rehearsals at one for one of the two plays he’s appearing in next weekend.  The university runs an event called Platform, which showcases student plays; Spud is in two of them.  After that, it’s straight into rehearsals for The Wind in the Willows.  He’s playing Mole.

He has managed to fit everything in around his studies (his marks show that he is actually studying) but he doesn’t have much of the typical student life.  I’m glad to say.  No heavy boozing for him, unless it’s the after-show party for Death of a Salesman

Ah, the life of an actor.

The Best-Laid Plans Of Mice & Mothers

9 Aug

I had this whole week planned:

  • Monday, clear the hall, especially the corner where we think Jimmy Hoffa is buried.  It’s been so long since we moved anything that it’s entirely possible there’s more than one corpse under our junk. 
  •  Tuesday, scrub the woodwork and walls prior to painting, if by ‘scrub’ I mean ‘lightly wipe as fast as possible with a damp cloth because it’s the dullest part of decorating and if I did it more often I wouldn’t need to paint so often.’ 
  • Wednesday, get Tory Boy to paint the ceiling because he’s taller than me and he offered. 
  • Thursday, paint. 
  • Friday, recover.

All plans are subject to change, of course; and change they must.  I have to break up my day today because I am at last going to own a girlie bike – one of those things with no long bar to fall on and a basket on the front for my shopping or dogs, like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz, but without the bad skin. 

I was once complimented on my skin.  I was eighteen at the time.  I even know the exact date: 14th August, 1982.  I was on a plane to South Africa with my Mum, and an Afrikaaner sitting next to her told her what beautiful skin I had, unlike South African girls of the same age.  I was thrilled at the time but now I wonder if it wasn’t just a little bit creepy?

I am getting the bike from a woman in church; she was asking if anyone wanted it and of course I said yes because I have wanted such a bike for years.  I have been bobbing along all happy at the thought of fulfilling another dream, when I suddenly realised the truth of the adage, ‘Be careful what you wish for…’  I have to ride the thing home.  I have to ride a bike.  I have to get on a bike and ride it.  On the street, in front of people and cars and nasty dogs and with no helmet or – worse – ability: I haven’t ridden a bike in 32 years, and even when I did I wasn’t very good at it.  No wonder Miss Almira Gulch was grumpy; she probably had a dream come true.

Think of me after two this afternoon, crying because I fell off my bike and bumped my head and scraped my knee and crashed into a car and fractured my leg and hit a wall and grazed my beautiful skin and broke my neck and couldn’t care for my family any more and and…

…Just had a calming cup of Earl Grey and I’m back.

As well as collecting the bike (fingers crossed I don’t fall off but then it will be harder to ride it with my fingers crossed and I might fall off; what to do?  What to do?) we need to visit the launderette: this morning I am re-washing the washing that I have already washed because it smells like washing smells when it takes five days to dry, so I am going to dry it at the launderette and walk the dogs while I’m waiting.  It rains a lot here in Stockport in summer.  It rains a lot in winter, too, but we don’t mind so much because we are wrapped in central heating and the telly is good and our wet washing dries on the radiators.  Not a good look but nobody visits in winter because they’re wrapped in their own central heating, watching telly and if they’re not, their clothes are too wet to wear and they can’t visit anyway.

That’s one day’s delay; I suspect there will be more because Tory Boy is – rather selfishly, I feel, because now I’ll have to paint the ceiling myself – ill.  He started feeling unwell on Friday but he went to Birmingham on Saturday to visit a friend who is studying nursing.  He got a lift there but was almost immediately put to bed because he had a temperature.  At one point it reached 41° and the bevy of student nurses caring for him in the house considered calling an ambulance, but he began to cool down.  He staggered back by train – how ridiculous is this?  £19.45 return to Birmingham by train or £18.45 one way?  No wonder we all avoid public transport if we can – and fell into bed, sleeping all day. 

I came downstairs this morning to find him asleep on the couch.  Having slept all day, he couldn’t sleep last night, especially when I started snoring.  He came downstairs to get away from me (a common reaction, I find; and not just when I’m asleep) and finally dozed off around dawn.  He has now gone back to bed.  This kind of thing has been happening since he started uni and I’ll be honest: I’m a little bit frightened.  This is how the Hub started, with cold sweats, hot sweats, fatigue, aching joints, fluctuating temperature.  I’m scared Tory Boy may contract CFS/ME.  I can just about cope with the Hub having it for the last fourteen years and probably the next fourteen, but I can’t bear the thought of my son having it, and at so young an age.  At least the Hub lived a bit.  A lot, actually, which is how he ended up sick in the first place.

Tory Boy, do your mother a favour: listen to your father and take it easy.  More importantly, listen to your body.  You don’t want to upset your mother, do you?

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Donny Still Makes My Heart Go Pitter-Pat

4 Aug

I have been shocked at how her parents have neglected my niece’s education; nay, appalled. Casual conversation between the Hub and the niece revealed that she had not – I barely know how to express it; I’m overcome. Just give me a moment…the niece had reached the age of eight without ever seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It gets worse: she had never seen or heard of The Wizard Of Oz. I thought every person in the western hemisphere had seen both of those films. Several times. At least. Though if it was averaged out, there’s probably some Scrooge in Stockport (naming no Hub names) who has only seen each film once and an enlightened wife in the same general area who has seen them 732 times and needs to replace her worn-out videos with brand-spanking new dvds if anyone’s listening.

The Hub and I huddled together and conspired to fix the deficit. It’s too late for the poor nephew; once you turn thirteen that’s it: musicals are seriously un-cool, as is saying the phrase ‘seriously un-cool’; but the niece is young enough not to be seriously impaired by her lack of musical knowledge, and we have had three girly nights in a row making good on parental neglect: The Wizard Of Oz to set the bar, followed by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. One film starts with a death and a celebratory song and has a child go off with three strange men; the other has the scariest nose in the ugliest suit I have ever seen and is guaranteed to give her nightmares about taking sweets from strangers, as well as making her think that offing the missus can be jolly good fun. I can’t believe she has never seen them.

I followed it up with The Sound Of Music – singing and Nazis; I might has well have put on Cabaret, old chum. She enjoyed them all but my stocks were running low because so many musicals are not suitable for eight year olds. I’m beginning to think that no musicals are suitable for eight year olds. Moulin Rouge – prostitutes and TB. Chicago – adultery, murder, miscarriages of justice. Even the seemingly innocuous early musicals are seething masses of misery: ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers – kidnap, domestic slavery and liars, anyone?

Fortunately, she missed nasty undercurrents such as Dorothy the Opium Eater because she was too busy plastering me in make-up and seventeen colours of nail polish. When she gets her first Academy Award (TrademarkCopyrightLegalBlahBlahBlah) she had better thank her Auntie Tilly for starting her on the road to success (but leave out the bit about how she covered me in so many layers of foundation, when I stood up my face was too heavy for my body and I fell head-first into the carpet, undoing all her good work).

Tonight I put on Joseph but she got bored with it and cleared off, leaving Donny and me alone. I was relieved: Donny Osmond is the only heart throb of my early years who still makes me weak at the knees (so long as I don’t see him in flares; flares make me nauseous). He is the only famous person who, if I ever meet him, will have to wipe the drool from chin. I hope for his sake he never meets me. However, I carry a spare pack of hankies on the off-chance. I’m not one to spit in the face of fate. Here he is, doing what he does best:

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